Assange: Conclusion of rape case an 'important victory'

20 May 2017, 09:54 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Assange: Conclusion of rape case an 'important victory'

Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London Britain

Assange said his legal team would reach out to British authorities to try to find a way forward, and he said he would be "happy" to have a dialogue with the U.S. Department of Justice despite its threats against him.

Swedish prosecutors said Friday that they were dropping a rape investigation into Assange because there was no reason to believe he would be brought to Sweden in the foreseeable future. President Donald Trump has said it is "OK" with him if Sessions does that.

"The proper war is just commencing", said Assange while standing outside the Ecuadorian embassy. If extradited to the US, Assange could be prosecuted for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.

Professor Mads Andenas, chair of the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, also welcomed the decision to drop the investigation.

Assange said being detained for seven years without charge while his children grew up and his name was slandered is something that he won't "forgive or forget". The news service reports he also called on the allow Assange safe passage back to Ecuador. Long added: "This has gone on long enough".

"We have today won an important victory, but the road is far from over".

Assange added that WikiLeaks would continue regardless of "the threats towards me and my staff" before hailing the release of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who provided classified information to WikiLeaks in 2010.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said in 2016 that Assange was in effect being arbitrarily detained in violation of global law.

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"This is a total victory for Julian Assange. He is the only political prisoner in Western Europe".

"He has been critical that it has lasted that long", Per E Samuelsson, his lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio. In a separate statement, the prosecutor noted that in Sweden a criminal investigation has to be conducted as quickly as possible.

The statute of limitations on the rape allegation expires in August 2020, and prosecutors could reopen the case if Assange returns to Sweden before then.

"My client is shocked and no decision to (end the case) can make her change (her mind) that Assange exposed her to rape", she said.

"We are not making a statement about his guilt". Chief prosecutor Marianne Ny attends a press conference in Stockholm on Friday May 19, 2017. My assessment is that the surrender can not be executed in the foreseeable future.

British Prime Minister said it would be for police to decide if Assange should be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

Despite that, London police said they are still obliged to arrest Assange if he left the embassy, because he breached bail conditions by failing to hand himself in for extradition to Sweden. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that "any decision that is taken about United Kingdom action in relation to him (Assange) would be an operational matter for the police".

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